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Music is something really close to my heart. It's what I'm majoring in (Go Bobcats!), something I've been involved in for years, and my other great passion besides writing about Android. When I'm lucky enough to find an app that combines music and Android, I'm in hog heaven. While SPC Music Sketchpad 2 (whew, that's a mouthful!) isn't as abstract as say, Plasma Sound, it's still really fun to use and powerful enough to create some really cool beats.

Once you open SPC 2, you're greeted with a grid of prepackaged sounds. Tap a sound and it starts to play, over and over. Each sound has a different pattern (and usually plays at a different time), so out of the box you've got some solid variety.

When you hit the pencil button you go into sound editing mode. When you touch a sound, instead of it turning on, you're taken to another grid where you can change when your sound activates, add more sounds, or turn it off completely. Then, you can save your edited sound so you don't have to remember how you changed it and redo the whole thing later.

There's also a cool effects panel where you can mess with things like distortion and reverb. Some of the effects are passive (just turn up their amount and they'll do their thing), but others you need to manually hit an effect button to have them work. (Distortion works this way.)

Finally, when you realize you've hit musical gold, you can record your sick beat onto your SD card, preserving it forever (or until your SD card fails). Assuming you get it onto a computer or other media device in a timely fashion, know that many dance parties will be had as the result of your musical ingenuity and tech-savvy nerdiness.

SPC Music Sketchpad 2 is $4.99 in the Google Play store for a limited time. We've got download links after the break.

There are 9 comments

supahmatt says:

I will be majoring in Music and some kind of computer engineering (one where I get to work with computer/phone hardware) at LSU or Texas A&M in two and a half years, so that is pretty cool! thanks for the app review!

Droid Brick says:

I too am deeply involved with music,Joshua. You care to share any other music related apps out there? I'd love to hear what others are using. I've been trying to find, or create, an app where I can read my music at gigs with my tablet.

ojocell says:

I, too, am a musician, and am looking for an app with which to read my scanned-to-PDF sheet music as well as scroll, and annotate (notate). I'd also like to find something similar to iPad's GarageBand for recording guitar tracks and saving in mp format. If you know of any, let me know. I'd rather not have to go to "the Dark Side".

Droid Brick says:

I've been looking for something more "interactive" than a PDF. I'm trying to use App Inventor to make something.

I am NOT an Apple fan. But I have to admit that Ipad and Iphone are orders of magnitude ahead of Android in music and audio recording apps. When the original Droid came out, Android hardware and OS simply couldn't compete with Iphone in music and audio. But beginning with Gingerbread, they began to improve. Unfortunately most developers simply haven't taken advantage of the audio improvements. "Music Sketchpad" is no Garageband, not even close.

15israellai says:

Oh hi fellow music lovers.
When it comes to Android, I really don't use many music apps other than tuner, metronome etc. I have to admit the platform isn't mature in terms of music, like what Roland Stone said. Sometimes I do envy my friends with all sorts of useful tools and instruments all packed in the phone (though 3.5" is really to small for that *grin*). I just hope developers will start to pick up the platform and this'll improve.

bullettrain says:

My friend and I have been sort of free form jamming with our phones at coffee shops for a while now. Our sound has grown to include more "instruments" (toy keyboards, effects pedals, etc) but we still rely heavily on his iPhone and my Evo Shift and Nook running CM7. I will admit that his iPhone has big name support with Korg and the like but there have been some great releases for Andoid. Here's the short list of what I use:
Nanoloop - really awesome 6 voice, 16 step sequencer. Pretty endless in possibilities.
Nodebeat - sort of free form ambient beat maker but so much more
Caustic - rebirth clone, little small on a phone but really nice on the Nook
TapeMachine - sound recorder that you can scratch, great for sampling and playing live
Ethereal Dialpad - touchscreen synth
I've also been trying to learn Pure Data and using PdDroidParty to use those sketches on Android.
I wish more people were talking about this stuff. I keep hearing about the newest iOS releases but I have to search for Android info.

tesseractive says:

While it's clearly built along the same lines, I would describe Caustic more as an evolutionary version of ReBirth than as a clone. It has a general-purpose synth and a sampler, and you can switch out instrument instances to get the ones you need. It's not as powerful as Reason, but Reason users should feel at home. This is my go-to music app on Android, and for how I work, I honestly wouldn't trade it for any of the iPhone apps I've tried.

Sonic Chop is a utility I use for trimming samples, and you can also use it to extract samples or loops from your MP3 library.

G-Stomper seems like pretty much a clone of an Electribe drum machine, run on samples. If that's up your alley, it's a pretty nifty app.

archaictext says:

So when you say "Finally, when you realize you've hit musical gold, you can record your sick beat onto your SD card, preserving it forever (or until your SD card fails)", does this only mean an option to save in the SPC format or is there some export to mp3 option I am missing? The functions in the app are great and I would like to use it to supplement the functions of other programs such as sound evolution, and audio pro effects as well as caustic, but it doesn't help me if I can't export the file.